In honor of Southlake Sister Cities’ 10-year anniversary with the city of Tome, Japan, Southlake Mayor Pro Tem Randy Williamson, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Brandon Bledsoe, and Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher traveled to Tome on June 4, 2015 to participate in an official ceremony commemorating the anniversary.
Right behind them, a student delegation from Carroll I.S.D., including Valeria Aceves, Ana Warner, Erica Warner, Austin Hintze, and Evan Young, also traveled to Tome. The students were led by City of Southlake’s Community Services’ Cassie Tucker and her husband Jon-Erik Tucker.
The students departed on Monday, June 8, 2015 for their week long excursion that started with a thirteen hour flight and a two-hour bullet train ride on “Shinkansen,” to Tome City. The student delegation stayed with host families while visiting the city and took multiple guided tours led by Tome Sister Cities coordinator, Seikoh Sasaki. The students met with Tome Mayor Takahisa Fuse and Superintendent of the City Board of Education Nobuo Satoh. “Tome welcomed us and they were very excited to give our students the full Japan experience,” said Cassie Tucker.
Some of the activities include a boat ride down the Kitakami River, visits to several temples including the Kofukuji Temple where they practiced calligraphy, and a visit to Toyosato Junior High where the students acted as judges for English presentations.
The celebration concluded with a party on Friday night hosted by the city of Tome. They enjoyed traditional Japanese drumming along with over 100 citizens of Tome. Mr. Ito, President of Tome’s International Friendship Association, presented the students with small mementos to remember their experience. The whole experience was very exciting for all of the students; they made many friends and memories, while embracing the Japanese culture.
The Southlake Sister Cities program partners with the City of Southlake to offer exchange trips for both students and adults between Sister Cities Tome, Japan and Suzhou Wuzhong, China. For more information about Sister Cities and the exchange programs, please visit: www.southlakesistercities.org.